BODYTRAFFIC has stories to tell, and they will play out Nov. 5 on the Manship Theatre stage.

The Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company will bring its diverse variety of music and steps to its first Baton Rouge performance hosted by the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre and the Manship. The show marks the first partnership between the ballet company and theater.

"Though this will be the company's first time in Baton Rouge, I had the good fortune of making an advance trip in August," says Lillian Barbieto, who co-directs the company with Tina Finkelman Berkett. "I became smitten with the city and its food, and the Manship Theatre is a great space."

And in that space, BODYTRAFFIC will perform parts of its vast repertoire of original works by today’s most distinctive choreographic voices, including Kyle Abraham, Richard Siegal and Sidra Bell.

Bell's dance, "Beyond the Edge of the Frame," is included in the company's lineup for Baton Rouge.

"The title refers to the stage as a frame," Barbieto says. "It's like a masquerade ball, where each dancer realizes it's not real and tries to break down that fourth wall."

Next up will be choreographer Joshua Peaugh's "A Trick of the Light," inspired by the rare “green flash” that occurs just before the sun disappears from view at sunset.

"The music is vintage, and the costumes are vintage 1950s prom wear," Barbieto says. "And all of the dancers see the green flash."

The green light will be followed by Stijn Celis' more serious "Fragile Dwellings," which he dedicated to Los Angeles' homeless population.

Celis' work is based on a dialogue with silence and emptiness.

"He was living in Switzerland and was taken aback by the homelessness in Los Angeles," Barbieto says. "'Fragile Dwellings' looks at the fragile dwellings of our minds and how that is where we all dwell."  

Finally, the show ends happily with Richard Siegal's "o2Joy," a playful, contemporary dance piece set to American jazz music.

The work is ballet based, peppered with syncopated hip-hop. The piece also is filled with light-hearted humor.

"As its’ title suggests, 'o2Joy' is an expression of joy," Barbieto says.

The company also will conduct a public master class at Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre's Dancers’ Workshop at noon Nov. 4. The class is open to all dancers, age 12 and older for $15.


Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre and the Manship Theatre present a performance by the Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company

WHEN: 2 p.m., 7 p.m. Nov. 5.

WHERE: Manship Theatre, Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.

TICKETS/INFO: $25-$45. (225) 344-0334 or

MORE: A master class for dancers 12 and older will be held at noon Nov. 4 at the Dancers Workshop, 10745 Linkwood Court. Cost is $15. To register, call (225) 767-5814.

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.